February’s Citizen Data Point of the Month

Here at Citizen, we have over 100 billion data points at our disposal for analysis, and we’ve been expanding our tools for analyzing it all at the speed of change.

One question we hear frequently is how to track new movers between elections. So, we dug into the data and analyzed the voters that have moved states in the past two years. While some states have seen significant changes, others have barely changed at all.

Read more about our February Data Point of the Month below, and stay tuned for more insights each month moving forward.

At Least 1.6 Million Voters Have Moved States in Past 2 Years

Through our database automation processes, we’ve collected the data of roughly 1.6 million registered voters who changed states over the last two years in 2020 or 2021. Digging into this group, we see some definitive trends emerge.

State Population Change Based on Net Voter Moves

Map of the United States with net voter moves as a % of state populations

The Quest for More Sunshine

Of the people we know who moved the past two years, the most popular state to go to was Florida. The Sunshine State received a total of more than 262k new voters, or just over 16% of all those who moved nationwide. After accounting for everyone who left the state, Florida saw a net gain of about 143k voters, a 1.08% increase in their entire voter population.

The state with the distinction of losing the most people is New York, with nearly 139k voters leaving during 2020 and 2021. Factor in those who moved to the Empire State, and it still ends up with a net loss of 101k voters or 0.87% of its total.

Some States Retain Voter Base

While Florida and New York draw attention for being the states most in flux, Nevada and New Hampshire are interesting studies in consistency. Each state saw a net voter population change of just 0.01% and 0.02%, respectively.

Shifting Political Winds in Red and Blue States

Voter movement between states has many far-reaching implications, but one of the most important shifts it brings is subtle but critical changes to the base of partisan support on both sides of the aisle.

Again, Florida shows the largest change of the bunch. For 2020 and 2021, Republicans managed a net gain over Democrats of nearly 50k new registered voters entering the state. According to our data, that swing officially changed the party with the registration advantage in the state from the Dems to the GOP.

After Florida, New York and South Carolina round out the top three states for net Republican gains (+20k and +11k, respectively), with the former’s swing to the right a result of an exodus of blue voters.

California had the highest net gains for Democrats, adding 40k registered voters to their pre-existing partisan advantage over the GOP. Meanwhile, Colorado was the state in which Dems grew their registration advantage the most, seeing the gap widen by 5.4%.

Perhaps the most interesting shift was Georgia. For 2020 and 2021 combined, Democrats show a net gain of 12,483 voters; Joe Biden won the state by just 11,779 votes in 2020. One wonders how much closer it would’ve been without the Democratic mover advantage.

Unaffiliated and Third Party Voter Trends

Of course, unaffiliated and third party voters — meaning anyone who hasn’t registered with a party or is registered with a third party such as the Libertarian, Green, Constitution, or other state-based Independent Parties — were also on the move in 2020 and 2021.

Consistent with national trends, Florida proved to be the most popular destination for these groups. On net, Florida’s population of unaffiliated and third party voters increased by 55k. As a result, these registrants now make up 28.3% of the state’s electorate.

North Carolina saw the second-highest net gain with this group, adding roughly 21k voters. That’s higher than the net gain among North Carolina Democrats and Republicans combined (19k).

New York and Texas were the states with the highest net loss of unaffiliated and third party voters, losing 24k and 20k, respectively.

The most interesting state to look at, though, is Colorado. It had the third-highest number of net unaffiliated and third party voters added over the past two years with 17k. While the state gained in this group, Republicans and Democrats saw a net loss in registration numbers of over 12k. This further increases the plurality of unaffiliated and third party registration in the state, which settled at 45%.

As our database continues to update — and our country continues to respond to a rapidly-evolving political landscape and ongoing pandemic crisis —  we’ll be interested to see if some of these trends persist. Will Democrats continue to move into Georgia, pushing that state further left? Will Florida continue to be the place most people decide to head to, perhaps solidifying it in the Republican column moving forward? We’re keeping our eyes on it.

Stay tuned for March’s Citizen Data Point of the Month. And if you would like to learn more about what our data capabilities can do for you and your organization, we would love to hear from you.